Friday, November 18, 2011

Bradbury Shelves, Part 2


So, today's installment of my "Bradbury Shelves".  Again, I committed a mistake, yesterday - the Horrorfind brochure I mentioned was actually this year's program.  A really cool time.  The program on the upper left is last year's Horrorfind program, which was a really a "turn-key" year for me.  Knew a lot more people, and I could easily say more people knew me.  Up behind that is a copy of Broome Community College's alumni newsletter, announcing the release of Hiram Grange & The Chosen One. 

Just under that is a pretty cool DC/Darkhorse Comics crossover, featuring the new Green Lantern - Kyle - against one of those nasty Aliens.  Don't know about anyone else, but I liked those DC/Darkhorse crossover featuring both Aliens and Predators.  Right next to that is a pretty cool Punisher figurine/action figure. 

Now, I was never a big fan of the Punisher, but when I taught junior high, I got into the habit of collecting all sorts of comic book action figures because my students tended to buy them for me at Christmas.  They're not collectibles at all, really...except in sentiment...and most of them have since been passed on to Zack and Madi.

Center stage is a really crucial issue of The Hulk, from when I regularly followed the title.  The Hulk is easily one of my favorite Marvel Heroes.  Probably something about Bruce Banner having an uncontrollable, misunderstood monster inside him really appealed to me.  I don't follow comics much anymore, but I can say that The Hulk was one I followed the longest. 

In front of them:  my name tag and author "name-plate" from AnthoCon, in it's first year, and easily one of the best Cons I've ever attended. Underneath my Con tag is a little leatherbound notebook a student gave me for Christmas, my first year of teaching high school.  Now, students often give gifts, but this was from one of my best students, also a book lover herself, so it was probably the most thoughtful gift I'd received from a student at the time.  I've since filled it with drafts and outlines and half-finished stories.  Poems, too.

There's a really old baseball there.  Not mine.  I never played.  But I got it from Dad, and though he never played organized baseball, he played a lot of stick ball, apparently.  I've kept it this whole time, I think, just because it was his. 

Off to the lower right is a mug someone gave me for my 30th birthday.  Not high on the actual value scale, but it represents my wife's biggest, best surprise ever: my 30th birthday party. Totally blew me out of the water.  I was coming home from a long trip, weary and tired, certainly not expecting my house to be filled with family and friends.  One of the best surprises, ever.

On the very top, towards the right, are two plaques "given" to me by the kids (ergo: made by Abby, with the kid's names signed to them).  I never take these things for granted, and these things are precious to me.

It should be noted that running along the entire shelf, supporting all these things, are old pulp novels, a lot of them circa 1918  (you can see a peak of them, middle right, right under some photo booth  strips from one of the last summer boys'  wedding).  No real important,  big names: lots of forgettable writers who've long since passed on, unrecognized by anyone.  But when I was fourteen years old, my great grandmother started giving them to me, one book a month.  

At the time, I was tired of YA fiction, and, if I wasn't ready for great fiction yet, I was certainly ready for something more intense, edgier.  For several years, I read lots of really, really creepy noir, detective stories and crime/murder mysteries.  A good share of westerns, too, including my first exposure to Riders of the Purple Sage

My great grandmother promised that when she passed on, all those books would go to me.  They did, and I promised myself I'd NEVER to throw them out, to keep them all.  Seeing as how they played a HUGE part of building my genre foundations, I consider it only proper that they form the virtual "spine" of my Bradbury shelf...